Sustaining immediate newborn care processes (delayed cord clamping and early breastfeeding initiation) in the delivery room: a quality improvement study

BMJ Open Qual. 2022 May;11(Suppl 1):e001705. doi: 10.1136/bmjoq-2021-001705.


Background: Immediate newborn care processes like delayed cord clamping (DCC) and early breastfeeding initiation (EBFI) in the delivery room have several benefits including survival. Despite the evidence, the practices have not been widely adopted. We used a point-of-care quality improvement (QI) to implement and sustain these two immediate newborn care processes in our delivery room over a period of 2 years through a series of plan-do-study-act (PDSA) cycles.

Methods: All neonates above 30 weeks of gestation irrespective of the need for resuscitation except Rh-isoimmunisation were eligible for DCC. Neonates >35 weeks not requiring respiratory support or resuscitation were eligible for EBFI. The root causes of gaps in the quality were analysed by fishbone analysis. The key quantitative outcome measure was the percentage of eligible deliveries in which DCC and EBFI were done. Duration of DCC was also recorded in the sustenance phase. This implementation was done through three PDSA cycles and the practices were sustained for 2 years.

Results: A total of 770 deliveries were part of this QI study from October 2018 to December 2020. There was a significant improvement in DCC (median) from a baseline of 25% to 96% over a 2-year period. Sensitisation, making DCC part of pre-birth checklist and recording outcomes on a dashboard daily helped to implement and sustain the processes over 2 years. As a co-process, EBFI improved (median) from a baseline of 50% to 97% without any major intervention in the system.

Conclusions: Immediate newborn care processes could be sustained by making them part of pre-birth preparation and dashboard recording by a QI initiative without any additional resources.

Keywords: Checklists; Control charts/Run charts; Nurses; Obstetrics and gynecology.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Breast Feeding*
  • Delivery Rooms
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Pregnancy
  • Quality Improvement*
  • Umbilical Cord
  • Umbilical Cord Clamping